Senator Kennedy Secures Approval of Bill to Help NY Families Find the Right Afterschool and Summer Programs for their Children

 

Senate and Assembly Passed Legislation Sponsored by Senator Kennedy and Assemblywoman Mayer that Establishes New Online Tool to Help Parents across New York State Track Down the Best Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs in their Neighborhoods.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Senator Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, D-Yonkers, have secured Senate and Assembly approval of their legislation to establish a new online tool that will help parents across New York State find the right afterschool and summer learning programs for their children.

Currently, there is no accessible database of information about afterschool, summer learning or child care programs for school-aged children in New York State. This can make it very difficult for parents to identify appropriate programs available for their children in their neighborhood. The Kennedy-Mayer legislation (S.6553A/A.8418A) will create a useful, searchable online tool that will provide families with the information they need to select programs for their children.

“Western New York’s working families face growing challenges as they balance workplace responsibilities with the all-important work of raising children and taking care of loved ones. It’s a tough job, and we should do what we can to make things a little easier and help relieve some stress,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “This new online tool will provide families with the important information they need to choose the right afterschool and summer learning programs for their kids. It will put necessary information in one place to help make what can be a stressful decision a little bit easier. Once signed into law, this legislation will be a step forward in our ongoing efforts to make New York State a stronger, more supportive place for families and children.”

Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer said, “​With the passage of this bill and the governor’s signature the lives of many families in ​Westchester​ will be made just a little bit easier. With the creation of this online database, families will have online access to information about after school and summer learning programs for their children. When parents are working harder and longer hours, I am pleased that this law ensure families have the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their children.”

“The New York State Afterschool Network applauds Senator Kennedy and Assemblymember Mayer for leading the way on a common sense solution to a common parental challenge. Putting all of the state’s existing data about afterschool opportunities in one, easy-to-use location will be invaluable to parents looking to find the right place for their children after the school day ends,” said Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, Executive Director of the New York State Afterschool Network.

The legislation requires the development of an easily-accessible and searchable database and map of available afterschool, summer learning, extended learning and school-aged childcare programs registered by the state Office of Children and Family Services. The listing will include each provider’s name, the address at which the program is offered and the name and phone number of an individual who can answer questions about the program.

This new online tool will be located on the website of the New York State Council on Children and Families, and it will be updated at least once every 90 days to ensure all information is accurate and up-to-date.

The database and map will provide information about afterschool, extended learning and summer programs that received grant funding from the state.

The Council on Children and Families will also have the discretion to include additional locations and information about other relevant child-care or afterschool programs to help parents make their decisions.

The New York State Council on Children and Families coordinates the state’s health, education and human services systems as a means to provide more effective, streamlined systems of care for children and families. Once up-and-running, this web portal for afterschool programs will be accessible at their website: http://ccf.ny.gov/.

The legislation, which was unanimously approved in the Senate and Assembly, now awaits the Governor’s signature to become law.

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Senator Timothy M. Kennedy represents the New York State Senate’s 63rd District, which is comprised of the town of Cheektowaga, the city of Lackawanna and nearly all of the city of Buffalo. More information is available at http://kennedy.nysenate.gov.

Assemblymember Shelley Mayer represents the New York State Assembly’s 90th District which covers most of Yonkers​. More information is available at http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Shelley-Mayer/.